Gov’t hospital doctor succumbs to COVID-19

COVID-19 claimed the precious life of one of Manila’s modern-day heroes, a doctor who had been with the city government in its battle against the virus from Day 1.

With much sadness, Mayor Isko Moreno bared the bad news and said that the doctor, identified as Dr. Reino "Nong" Palacpac, was a pediatrician based at the Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital who was well-loved by his co-workers and is a dedicated medical frontliner before he succumbed to the coronavirus.

In light of this development, Moreno called on all medical frontliners to take extra care of themselves and for the residents to do their share by observing the mandated health protocols, as less hospital admissions will also mean less exposure on the part of the medical workers.

Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, under whose supervision falls the operation of the city’s six public hospitals, both expressed their deepest condolences to the family of Palacpac and acknowledged that no words will ever be enough to ease the pain of losing a loved one.

Moreno also offered to somehow help the surviving family members of the ill-fated doctor by ordering the immediate release to them of the P1 million ‘Bagong Bayani Endowment Benefit Fund of 2020.’ The benefit grant is contained in Ordinance 8639, which also gives any surviving children of the concerned health worker scholarship either in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila or the Universidad de Manila.

“We know that no amount of financial assistance can make things bearable for the family but we hope this simple token of the city’s love and appreciation for our doctor’s heroism and dedication to duty can somehow help,” Moreno said.

“You have no idea how sad this development makes us feel but we have to go on because the sick people rely on us and our fallen heroes, I’m sure, would want all of us to continue helping those who need medical attention,” Moreno said in a message addressed to medical frontliners.

Under the ordinance, the following shall be the qualified beneficiaries: if married, the surviving spouse and children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, if any; if single, the surviving parent/s, or in their absence, the nearest ascendants; in the absence of the latter, then the nearest descendants, and in their absence, the surviving siblings and if unmarried but has a common law partner, 30 percent of the benefit shall accrue to the latter and the remaining 70 percent to the children, whether legitimate or illegitimate.

The ordinance covers city health workers who died from the start of the declaration of public health emergency throughout the Philippines on March 8, 2020.

It will continue to be in full force and effect until a vaccine for the COVID-19 has been developed and certified by the Food and Drug Administratio